Arthritis is a common health problem worldwide. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause joint pain and stiffness in patients. There is no cure for arthritis and no effective treatment to repair damaged cartilage.
A new study could help lead doctors towards a drug to prevent the onset of arthritis. The research pinpoints the molecular pathway and an enzyme that play a pivotal role in the onset of the condition. Researchers from Cardiff University conducted research to better understand the molecular pathway involved in the onset of arthritis.
Early research has shown activity levels of two enzymes, MMP-2 and MMP-9, are frequently increased in the cartilage of people suffering from osteoarthritis. Researchers also know, in patients with arthritis, the cartilage releases a substance called proteoglycan. Scientists cultured cartilage cells in vitro to study this pathway as osteoarthritis develops.
The researchers stimulated the cells with two molecules that activate the arthritis processes. This caused the increased release of proteoglycan and the production and activation of MMPs. Researchers then inhibited the enzyme PKR in the cells. This time they found no increase in the activation of MMPs and that the release of proteoglycan was significantly reduced.
Researchers say the results of this study imply that PKR is involved in the molecular pathways that are implicated in the progression of arthritis. They hope this understanding will help in the discovery of novel targets for arthritis drugs.